First there were critters.
Around the end of November, Our Best Friend started going mad barking and pawing at the walls. That always means one thing: critters have invaded our home. In the past, we caught a few in traps, and after a week or so OBF’s barking and scratching drove them away. This time, they kept a’coming. I was woken repeatedly at night by OBF attacking the lazy susan under the counter in the kitchen. There’s a hole for the plumbing right next to it, and the critters were marching upstairs and straight into the paws (and, on one memorable occasion, the jaws) of Our Best Friend. The numbers killed reached an all-time high of four or five.
Then, at the beginning of December, I came downstairs and heard a funny hissing noise coming from the powder room tucked into the large room we called “the office.” In the five years we’ve owned this house, I think we’ve actually used that powder room twice, as it was old and decrepit and there was a much nicer bathroom down the hall. So I had to shift the boxes blocking the door to open it and see what was happening.
It was raining. A pinhole leak had formed in a pipe in the ceiling, and it had been spraying the bathroom for quite some time. I called the plumber; I called the insurance company. The plumber fixed the leak, and the insurance company sent a demolition team to take apart everything affected by the water damage.
Meanwhile, I still had critters, which I believed were mice. So while the floors in the basement were open, I called Kelvin the Exterminator to survey the situation.
“These aren’t mice,” he told me. “These are rats.” And to prove it, he found a dead one on the floor of the furnace room, nestled against the wall. What I had mistaken for mice, because of their size, were actually baby rats. And they’d left a hell of a mess under the floors and the crawl space under the stairs, ’cause baby rats don’t wear diapers.
The destruction of the powder room was actually serendipitous timing. The exterminator told me to I needed a plumber to snake a camera through the plumbing to make sure the backflow valves were working. Normally they would need to remove the toilet and replace it for this job, so that was one step out of the way. Turns out I had two backflow valves, both of which were broken, allowing the rats entry through the sewers. One valve, located under the office floor, connected to the now-defunct powder room. The other, under the hall floor, connected to the washing machine, the sink in the other bathroom, and the shower.
The toilet in the big bathroom was connected to…. nothing. It had simply been placed on the floor, improperly connected to the plumbing, and over the course of 2o+ years, had rotted out the entire floor.
I could either sell the house as is or fix it. Again, by serendipitous timing (I like that word), we were transferring our mortgage from one bank to another, and took out extra to cover the work. I saved a bit by not rebuilding the powder room, removing the need to repair that valve. To repair the second, the entire bathroom floor as well as a great chunk of hallway needed to go. Once the floor went, so did the rest of the bathroom, which always smacked of 1973, even though it was built in the ’80s. Now I have an enlarged, open space to act as a family room and personal office, a new bathroom, a new ceramic floor in the hallway from beginning to end (covering the holes under the washing machine where the rats used to play hide’n’ go seek [guess who was It]), and fresh, light beige paint over what used to be hideous Pepto-Bismol pink. It looks beautiful, cozy, clean, and new.
Naturally, there’s a problem. And here it is:
What used to be hidden in the wall of the powder room now lies exposed: a support beam. Alone in a big open space. Imagine the temptation this poses to a dog who hasn’t been allowed downstairs in almost a year, after he started treating the office (and guest room!) as his personal latrine. The evening after the carpet was laid and the renovation basically complete, I cautiously brought him down, on his training leash. He literally wet himself with excitement– fortunately on the tile and not the carpet, but also, not so fortunately, on my foot.
Last Saturday night, the kids and I all came down to the finally-finished family room, me at my desk writing an essay, them on the carpet, playing on their iPads. And upstairs, alone, Our Best Friend howled like a wolf. Wasn’t even a full moon.
“Leave him upstairs,” said the Eldest. “Can’t we have one room in the house without dog fur?”
Even the Middle Child, usually OBF’s BFF, agreed. “There should be a place in the house the dog isn’t allowed.” Then she added, “He’s getting annoying.”
Who raised these children? Wasn’t me.
But all week, it was just me and him . On Monday, I came down alone, listened to the crying, then went and rescued him from his loneliness. I have restricted him to the floor by the door to the garage. Doesn’t he look sad?
So hence the new challenge. On one hand, the dog is part of the family, and thus deserves access to the family room. On the other hand, this carpet was a lot of money, and I really don’t feel like scrubbing dog pee (and worse) out of it on a constant basis.
Any training tips greatly appreciated.
This post of part of the Pet Blogger Hop! Hop on here!
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…